Fifteen schools from the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) were recently chosen to receive a Green Apple Day of Service Mini Grant, which awards $200 to projects that promote a healthier, more sustainable school.
Projects this year are largely being undertaken by DPSCD Go Green Challenge Green Teams. Spearheading sustainability projects that range from community space transformations to schoolwide green initiatives, Detroit students of all ages will soon be turning blueprints into realities with support from the grant.
Greening schools, greening communities
At Renaissance High School, for example, the Green Team plans to use grant funds to host a communitywide Green Fair featuring environmental causes like recycling, solar panels and neighborhood gardens.
“The idea came up because we wanted to inform people just how important the environment is,” David Okorom, a Renaissance sophomore, explained, “and we feel the best way to inform people is to be hands-on.” Okorom and the Renaissance Green Team aim to hold the Green Fair during Earth Week in late April.
The project focus at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men is improving the school’s expansive and underutilized courtyard. The FDA Green Team, nicknamed The Green Crusaders, noticed that the courtyard, which was typically locked, held untapped potential to become a colorful, active community hub. After surveying FDA’s student body to gauge their ideas for the space, the team will host Earth Day programming in their freshly revitalized courtyard.
The Green Team at Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy will take a different spin on “revitalization” for their Green Apple project by creating art installations from recycled materials. The 7th grade team, which had won the Go Green Challenge Recycling Competition in previous years, wanted to combine their knowledge of recycling with their artistic talents to solve the problem of litter while adding some color to their school grounds.
Youth leadership is key aspect of all of these projects. Green Teams are guided by AmeriCorps Green School Coordinators, but the ideas, planning and execution are driven completely by students. Frederick Douglass students even initiated a social media presence to promote their team’s progress, posting with the Instagram handle @greencrusaders. With their voices at the helm and Green Apple funds to fuel their journeys, these Detroit students are in the fast lane to healthier, greener schools.
The 15 DPSCD Green Apple Day of Service Grantees, lead teachers and project titles:
- Academy of the Americas, Ms. Carol Smuk, "Garden Day"
- Burton International Academy, Ms. Stacy Kings, "School Garden"
- Chrysler Elementary School, Mr. Gregory Dombro, "Green Eating for Everyone"
- Davison Elementary-Middle School, Ms. Georgetta Johnson, "Keep Davison Beautiful"
- Detroit Collegiate Preparatory at Northwestern, Mr. James Jennings, "DCP's Greenhouse Facelift"
- Detroit International Academy for Young Women, Ms. Courtney Valentine, "Cleaning Up Our Greenhouse"
- East English Village Preparatory Academy, Ms. Kimberley Stevenson, "EEVPA Bull Dog Beautification Project"
- Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, Mr. Chad Segrist, "The Courtyard @FDA: The Beginnings"
- Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School, Ms. Rudaina Kainaya, "Greenhouse Function"
- Harms Elementary School, Ms. Jackie Waldron, "Improving Our School's Garden"
- Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School at Howe, Ms. Penelope Johnson, "Green Angels Clean to Stay Green"
- Renaissance High School, Ms. Kerry Williams, "Renaissance High School Green Fair"
- Roberto Clemente Learning Academy, Ms. Stefanie Argy, "Creating an Indoor Hydroponic Garden"
- Sampson Webber Leadership Academy, Ms. Lashon Clay, "Beautify Sampson"
- West Side Academy for IT and Cyber Security, Mr. Arzell Jones, "Expanding On Our School Garden and Creating a Community Space"
Progress updates on all DPSCD Go Green Challenge projects can be found on the GGC blog.